May 18, 2022

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High insurance premiums stops Barrhaven’s reverse Santa Claus parade

OTTAWA —
High insurance premiums are forcing events like the Barrhaven Santa Claus Parade to cancel even scaled back “drive-thru” events during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Now, Premier Doug Ford says he is “fed up” with insurance companies.

In a year that could use some cheer, efforts to save the Barrhaven Santa Claus Parade by offering a drive-thru option are hitting a roadblock.

The Barrhaven parade has been around for over 25 years, and organizers also hold a “Breakfast with Santa” event.

New mom Catalina De Angelis was hoping to take her daughter to the parade this year.

“We were really looking forward to this year as a family, going and looking at the attractions – and all of the floats that come by, and Santa Claus,” said De Angelis.

Parade co-chair Dawn Lilly says they were hoping to create a “reverse-parade” this year during the COVID-19 pandemic, “We were going to have the floats permanent, and people would drive-by.”

Lilly says that’s just not possible after an insurance quote to cover the event is more than triple the cost of insurance for the two events last year.

“Normally, our premium for our insurance for both events is about $3,500… When we contacted the insurance company to tell them about our drive-by event, they said that the costs of the insurance would be 12-13 thousand dollars.”

The high insurance quote shocked organizers of the Barrhaven Santa Claus Parade.

“With the event that we were having, there was actually less of a possibility that somebody could get sick at our event, because people were staying in their own vehicles,” said Lilly.

On Thursday, Premier Ford used his daily media briefing at Queen’s Park to criticize insurance companies for increasing prices on businesses during the pandemic.

“I’m fed up with these guys; you know, they’re gouging the people – they’ve made a fortune over all of these years, and I’ve just had it with these insurance companies.”

The costs of the Santa Claus parade are covered mainly by local businesses. Lilly says asking them to help wasn’t an option this year.

“About 80 per cent of our budget comes from sponsorships from the businesses in Barrhaven; and, with the year that they’ve had, obviously we felt that we couldn’t even go to them to ask for sponsorships.”

Santa may be taking a break from this year’s parade, but Lilly says to not worry; the parade will be bigger next year.

“Santa’s still going to find you this year…He’s looking forward to seeing you on Christmas Eve.”